Micro-business on display at Penticton expo

Penticton’s first Micro Business Expo is just about ready to roll, according to organizers.

Jennifer Vincent of Cowork Penticton and Herman Steuernagel a front end developer and designer for the local company

Penticton’s first Micro Business Expo is just about ready to roll, according to organizers.

“We are very close to being full,” said Jennifer Vincent, co-founder of Cowork Penticton, which is hosting the expo that showcases a range of businesses-to business services.

“Full means we are going to be having about 25 vendors here and that is great for a first show.”

A micro-business, Vincent explained, is one with five employees or less. A large chunk of  businesses in the South Okanagan are defined as small, with 20 or less employees. And many of those also fall into the micro-business category.

The goal of the micro-business expo, according to Vincent, is to give an opportunity to these smaller businesses who may not have the budget to enter big trade shows, or would get swallowed in the crowd if they did.

“This is a really face-to-face experience,” she said. “These are people in their homes, these are people sharing offices with other people, they don’t have a great street frontage the way a retail business might.”

Part of the inspiration for the expo came from the number of people Vincent sees dropping by Cowork and asking where they might find a writer, a designer, or a software developer, any of a range of small businesses.

“There are lots of those people with those skills in our region, it is just nice to pull them all together,” said Vincent. “I know there are people who are coming to this event specifically to go shopping for that expertise.”

A number of other business services will be represented from cleaning services to business caching.

“The challenges that are faced by somebody with five employees are quite different from that by someone with 20 employees,” said Vincent. “That’s why we felt it was important to highlight that definition and support people.”

Another aspect of the expo is the free workshops throughout the day.

“Somebody could do a full day of business development if they wanted to register for all the workshops,” said Vincent. Those workshops range through topics from tax tips for business to online reputation management.

“One of our Cowork members, Colin Fletcher, he is hosting a workshop called Taming your Gmail Inbox, which I think is one of those titles that catches your eye,” said Vincent. “I feel like most people have some kind of guilt about the state of their inbox. Very few people seem to keep those nice and tidy.”

Each of the workshops are limited to 10 seats, to keep them intimate and maximize involvement.

“We also have people offering workshops on personality profiles and how you can use that to build a really great team,” said Vincent. “When you are a small team, every person is really, really important in that they are the right blend.”

The public is invited to attend the expo for free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Refreshments from Cannery Brewing and Upper Bench Winery will be available for purchase, as well as espresso coffees and locally made craft soda from The People’s Craft House.

Details on the event, including a schedule of free workshops is available at www.microbizexpo.com.